It’s so funny that your experience has, in nearly every way, been the exact opposite of my own now that I’m OVER 30. When I was 25 and younger and had short hair, people did, in fact, feel, believe, and treat me in all of the things that you wrote about.
Now that I’m over 30, maybe it’s more…normal(?) for women to whack their hair off? Or maybe my choice of haircut is more fitting for my current self. Living in the bible belt, no one has once referenced that I’m not Christian or assumed I’m liberal (though I am). The amount of men that have hit on me has skyrocketed. People are kinder. People go out of their way to tell me I’m beautiful and they like my haircut.
Last year when I was online dating, I matched with a guy I knew in high school, who had known me when I’d last had my hair really short. I asked him about the attention I was getting, and he told me that my haircut now suited my face more. /shrug
Who knows. It’s interesting just the same how much can we wrapped up in a goddamn haircut.